Prized winger Faith Nisperos is stoked to play alongside former college rivals turned Akari teammates Fifi Sharma and Justine Jazareno in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference unwrapping on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Chargers got busy during the break, acquiring key additions including the De La Salle University duo with hopes of breaking into the top four after finishing eighth in the first serving of the AFC early this year.
Middle blocker Sharma and libero Jazareno played key roles in the Lady Spikers’ unbeaten championship run in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85.
Nisperos, who decided to forego her playing eligibility in Ateneo de Manila University after the UAAP to join Akari, is excited about what her college archrivals would bring to the table for the Jorge De Brito-mentored club.
“It will be a big boost for us as they bring in the aggressiveness that they’ve always shown during our games in the UAAP. They carry their team with their energy and consistent performances,” Nisperos said.
The outside hitter is also looking forward to bonding with Sharma and Jazareno, whom she only knew before as stiff competitors back during their high school and college days.
“It’s great to have someone like them on the court. And I know I will learn a lot from them,” Nisperos said.
Akari also added a veteran in middle Roselle Baliton, bringing in more experience to a squad that has a good mix of veterans and youngbloods.
Seasoned opposite hitter Dindin Santiago-Manabat is back to lead the way along with skipper Michelle Cobb, Janine Marciano, libero Bang Pineda, Eli Soyud, Ezra Madrigal, Erika Raagas, Trisha Genesis and Janel Maraguinot.
Nisperos is confident the Chargers will turn their fortune around this time after placing 10th in the 13-team mid-season Invitational Conference.
“We’ve been training really hard and with the additional players. We have Fifi, we have Ate Roselle Baliton, we also have Justine,” she said. “I would say that the pieces are slowly fitting perfectly together for us.”
Akari begins its campaign against powerhouse F2 Logistics on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Mark Escarlote